First Year Program

In the first year at California College of the Arts, students explore different approaches to creative practices, while building the necessary skills in preparation for their majors.

The First Year Program's Core Studio courses emphasize craft, work ethic, visual literacy, critical exploration of ideas, and effective communication.

The First Year Program is committed to constructive critique, guided research, presentation of ideas, and the highlighted importance of collaboration.

Through a combination of studios and academic courses, the program orients students to the rigor of building a creative practice while using foundation skills that apply to all programs at the college.

Working closely with the Advising, Student Affairs, and Residential Life offices, the First Year Program, based on the Oakland campus, provides structure and guidance to help students acclimate to college life at CCA.

First Year Faculty

The studio faculty, a diverse group of artists, architects, and designers supports students in their explorations, while challenging them to take risks, clarify and deepen their processes of inquiry, and refine their techniques.

Faculty members also advise students about how to select a major and design a path of study that will best serve their interests while at the college. With 18 as the average class size, faculty and students have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships.

Bay Area Community

Through sponsored field trips and special projects, the Oakland-based First Year Program provides students with opportunities to integrate with the larger CCA community as well as the vibrant, creative culture of the Bay Area.

The program’s committed faculty of artists, designers, architects, and writers reflects the diverse cultural fabric of the area. Students join a network that will remain throughout their lives and practices, connecting them to CCA's campus throughout their careers.

First Year Portfolio Review

At the end of the first year students participate in the First Year Portfolio Review, a capstone experience that informs and reviews work made in the First Year Core Studios and discusses students' preparedness for the majors.

First Year Curriculum

Academic courses in visual studies, English, and critical studies strengthen writing proficiency and critical inquiry skills, allowing students to familiarize themselves with the social, historical, and cultural contexts in art, design, architecture, and writing.

In addition, the first year provides opportunities in studio electives for students to investigate majors and explore new media.

General materials list for Core Studio classes>>